Crime Texas prosecutor dismisses 13 cases tied to biker shooting

00:21  09 february  2018
00:21  09 february  2018 Source:   Associated Press

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas prosecutor on Thursday dismissed 13 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco involving bikers and police and recused himself from two others, placing into doubt the criminal prosecution of the more than 130 bikers still awaiting trial.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A Texas prosecutor has dismissed 13 of the more than 150 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco between bikers and police.

Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson) © Jerry Larson/AP Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson) FORT WORTH, Texas — A Texas prosecutor on Thursday dismissed 13 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco involving bikers and police and recused himself from two others, placing into doubt the criminal prosecution of the more than 130 bikers still awaiting trial.

The actions came hours before a scheduled hearing for Jorge Salinas, whose case was among those dismissed. Current and former staff had been due to speak at the hearing about corruption allegations against District Attorney Abel Reyna, who faces a Republican primary election in March. The hearing was canceled.

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A Texas prosecutor on Thursday dismissed 13 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco involving bikers and police and recused himself from two others, placing into doubt the criminal prosecution of the more than 130 bikers still awaiting trial.

A Texas prosecutor has dismissed 13 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco involving bikers and police and recused itself from two others, placing into doubt the criminal prosecution of the more than 130 bikers still awaiting trial.

According to a motion filed Thursday, the prosecutor dismissed Salinas' case "in order to focus its efforts and resources on co-defendants with a higher level of culpability."

The May 2015 shootout outside a Twin Peaks restaurant left nine bikers dead and 20 injured. Local police arrested 177 bikers after the mayhem, and more than 150 people were eventually indicted on felony charges of engaging in organized criminal activity resulting in the deaths and injuries. Ballistics evidence showed that police bullets struck four bikers, killing at least two of them. The three officers involved in the shooting were no-billed by a grand jury after being cleared by an internal investigation.

Nearly three years later, only one biker, Dallas locomotive driver Christopher "Jake" Carrizal, has been tried. Carrizal's November trial resulted in a mistrial when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The second biker set for trial rejected a plea deal in December.

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WACO, Texas (AP) - A Texas prosecutor plans to dismiss one of the more than 150 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco between bikers and police, according to an email from the prosecutor 's office to the biker 's attorney .

WACO, Texas (AP) - A Texas prosecutor plans to dismiss one of the more than 150 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco between bikers and police, according to an email from the prosecutor 's office to the biker 's attorney .

More than 100 bikers, including 11 whose cases were dismissed Thursday, have civil suits pending against the district attorney's office and the Waco police department claiming that they were wrongfully arrested.

A federal judge in Austin had stayed the cases pending the outcome of their criminal cases. Dallas attorney Don Tittle, whose firm is representing 122 bikers' civil cases, said he hopes the dismissals mean "that there's no longer any impediment" to proceeding in civil court.

Salinas, 27, a decorated Marine from Lometa, Texas, and his Fort Worth attorney, Brian Bouffard, both cried upon learning late Wednesday from the district attorney's office that the case against him would be dropped.

Bouffard called the dismissals a "smoke screen" to avoid having the allegations against Reyna voiced in public court, and said Salinas would continue to pursue his civil case.

Salinas "lived under this garbage for almost three years, and his civil rights were violated. The dismissal, while welcome, doesn't erase that," Bouffard said.

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